Cup nightmares soon forgotten by Sheffield

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Sheffield Eagles put their Northern Rail Cup final defeat behind with a victory over Keighley Cougars that restates their bid for the Championship title.

Memories of the defeat to Leigh disappeared as the Eagles completed a league double over Keighley, producing four unanswered first half tries.

Keighley started with three straight sets with half-back Scott Leatherbarrow ’s speed and passing putting the Eagles on the back foot but the advantage wasn’t pressed home.

Following a spell of indecisive play by both teams Eagles burst into life with three tries in five minutes. A long pass from Pat Walker broke the deadlock giving centre Menzie Yere a clear run in from 20 metres.

A swerving run by Quentin Laulu-Togagae split Keighley’s defence before the fullback passed inside for Walker to finish.

Joe Hirst break sent Laulu-Togagae through and this time his pass found Tom Armstrong who went in at the angle.

A flurry of sub-stations for the visitors couldn’t halt the tide of Eagles pressure with substitute hooker James Davey adding to their problems as his pass from dummy-half sent Joe Hirst crashing over the right of the posts.

Dominic Brambani missed the first goal but converted the final three tries.

If Yere had held a low pass from Michael Knowles the Cougars would have been facing more than a 22-0 deficit at half-time.

The pressure was back on from the restart with Armstrong being held up after breaking the line.

Player-coach Paul March was trying to get the Cougars going forward and they enjoyed their best spell with Leatherbarrow just unable to hold the ball when a try seemed on.

The Eagles defence was strong and they increased their lead with a Walker kick mis-judged by Daley Williams, who could only knock to ball down to Misi Taulapapa to touch down. Brambani added the goal.

Scott Turner and Laulu-Togagae went close and Mitch stringer was help following a tap penalty.

Keighley’s desperate attempts to get a score saw Sean Hesketh held on the line but were rewarded with centre Williams touching down a Danny Jones chip kick.

A fumble by an Eagles player gave Elliot Cosgrove the chance to pick up a loose ball and go over, Jones added the goal.

Laulu-Togagae wrapped up the scoring three minutes from time with Eagles fifth try with Brambani added the goal.

Sheffield Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Armstrong, Taulapapa; Walker, Brambani; Higgins, Henderson, Stringer, Garside, Straugheir, Hirst. Substitutes: Davey, Knowles, Szostak, Green.

Keighley Cougars: Moss; Barnett, Williams, Cosgrove, White; Jones, Leatherbarrow; Shickell, Feather, Hesketh, Chandler, Pursgrove, Rawlins. Substitutes: March Law, Sagar, Bailey.

Referee: P Brooke (RFL).